At some time in our beauty business we have all experienced the no show client, chronic late clients and those lovely cancellation texts 10 minutes before your next customers session. To help with the pain I am a firm believer in that Spray tan technicians should have a cancellation policy and penalty in place for no-show tanners & last minute cancellations. This was a topic I discussed on one of my recent Facebook live broadcasts ( Every Monday on Perfect Glow Sunless)
The subject of cancellation policies and fees can be a touchy one for spray tan technicians & it is a common question asked in many spray tan and beauty forums. I realize that this can be a struggle for some of you as it was for me in the beginning of my career. Maybe you might not know which policy to use or maybe you could be afraid of losing clients. Even if this is true, you should still have cancellation policies. I also believe you have to enforce these policies with a cancellation fee.
So what should your Spray Tan cancellation policy be?
Unlike other beauty services spray tanning requires a certain amount of prep by the client & is difficult to fill a last minute spot that opens up due to a cancellation. My business policy is a 24 hours notice is required for any cancellations. Spray Tanners who cancel outside of this window will be charged a cancellation fee ( Billed that day if I have a credit card on file) or added on to their next session. Some spray tan techs choose to send a PayPal invoice but that is on a case by case basis and many have a hard time getting it paid.
You policy should be customized to apply to late clients, no-shows, and last-minute cancellations. Base the amount of money you charge as a penalty upon the value of your time and your market demographic. For example:
- Some choose to have a policy where a client that cancelled after the 24 hour period would be charged 50% of the service price. Yet some techs have their policy enforced to charge this if they get a cancellation within 3-4 hour time frame of the clients scheduled session.
- If someone was a “No show” they would be charged 100% of the service price.
- Clients that are more than 10 minutes late to their session are subject to being rescheduled to the last appointment or another day.
This are just some examples and you have to gear your policy towards what works best for you business. For your cancellation policy to work, your clients need to know you have one and also have to familiarize themselves with the policy. I recommend you post your cancellation policies on your business’s website where they can easily see it ( Maybe on the pricing page and Q&A) I also recommend having it on your booking confirmation (if you use one) or you can email and text your policies to clients who book a session. This way you cover your bases and they can’t tell you that they didn’t see your policy or didn’t know you have one.
Collecting Your Cancellation Penalty
Cancellation policies are half of the battle. Once you establish your policy, you have to enforce it. Earlier, I mentioned a fee for no-shows and cancellation after the grace period. Get your clients credit card information at the time of booking their appointment. This way, if they violate your policy, you can charge them the fee.
As spray tan technicians, our time is extremely valuable. As mentioned earlier if someone cancels at the last minute or is a no-show, it’s difficult to book another appointment in that time slot. If you do, you risk pushing back your other appointments and inconveniencing tanners. The same thing happens if the tanner shows up late for their appointment. It’s not worth it!
Many spray tan techs are self-conscious about asking tanners for their credit card info up front as they believe that this can deter potential clients from booking appointments but I disagree. Most customers use their credit cards to pay a deposit & is very common in other businesses. Many nail and eyelash technicians require this for example. Also, if you think you can collect that late fee some other day, keep in mind that many no-show clients never come back. Now you’re out the money you would’ve made if you booked someone else in that slot. If you get a customer that does not want to use a credit card or does not have one then you can always review on a case by case basis.
What About Package Clients?
Do you have tanners who purchase a lot of large spray tanning packages? Perhaps they spend more than $200 at a time. If so, I understand that you might be nervous about enforcing your cancellation policy with these clients. (You’re afraid of losing them and that revenue!) But your package clients value you enough to buy these packages because they love what you do. And since they are repeat customers they should also respect you and your time.
I’ve let package clients slide in the past and ended up regretting my decision as it was not a one time deal. It is always harder and awkward to enforce something that you have given a “free pass to” So make sure your policies apply to everyone and you enforce them in the beginning. That said, there are always exceptions to the rules. For example, if you have a long-term tanner who has that rare cancellation, you might want to let it slide. These things must be handled on a case-by-case basis. For the most part, it’s best to keep your cancellation policies in place and enforce them. Your tanners will respect you and you’ll respect yourself in the long run.
Avoid “Tanner Drama!”
I see many spray tan techs becoming friends with their clients. I highly recommend you don’t get involved in a client’s drama. And don’t hang out with them at the club, bar, or anywhere else outside of work. It’s one thing to care about your tanners, (I have many amazing clients that I love) but but it’s another thing to turn every appointment into a therapy session. If you allow yourself to get deeply involved with a client’s family or relationship drama, you cross the line and become their friend. Once you do that, many of these tanners won’t think twice about missing an appointment. (Because in their mind you understand what they are going through) Worse yet, you’ll find it hard to enforce your policies on a friend.
Your Respray Policy
Speaking of policies, do you have respray policy for tanners whose tans require touch ups? You should! Some salons will respray any client who has a problem with their tan within 24 hours of their appointment. I’ve heard of some sunless techs doing re-sprays on clients five days after their session! This is not a respray issue in my opinion but is a client who didn’t pay attention to aftercare instructions or might possibly want a free spray tan.
Do you commonly have tanners who complain about their results right after their session? If so this might be a training issue relating to technique or not knowing proper aftercare instructions & things the customer should avoid. In that case I suggest you take a quality spray tan certification program to improve your technique & knowledge. This gives you confidence in your ability to apply a proper spray tan.
Good Luck, Spray Tan Techs!
Im not afraid to say that made mistakes when I started spray tanning and had some clients take advantage of me. it is a big topic with my spray tan consulting clients and we work on how to get over this common hurdle. Always remember…This is your business! It is not charity work and it’s how you pay your bills and feed your family. When someone cancels or is a no-show, it takes money out of your pocket. A cancellation policy and fee offers you some protection. Remember, your tanners won’t respect you or your time if you don’t!
Melissa Weinberg is the founder of Perfect Glow Sunless™ a luxury brand of top rated Spray tan solutions and Sunless products. She is also a top spray tan educator in the beauty industry. Her Perfect Glow Spray Tan Academy™ offers various online and hands on
spray tan training courses and spray tan consulting. Her entrepreneurial journey has been featured in Money Magazine, The Huffington Post and other media publications. For more information on her products and the Spray Tan academy please visit Perfectglowsunless.com